Friday, April 29, 2005

From the Mouths of Babes

We’re talking about education over dinner tonight when my 15-year-old son says, “You spend the first half of your life gaining all this knowledge and then you spend the last half of it losing it.” I just about spit my coffee across the table.

My son has always had a witty way with language. For the longest time he swore he could see out my belly button when he was in my womb, often describing events that happened before he was born. He’s the one who at four-years-old determined that women weren’t human. Men were humans. Women were ladies. Then there was the time he came running into the kitchen, his face fraught with fear, “Mommy, did you know John Wayne Bobbitt's wife cut of his penis?” A row of question marks followed by exclamation points chased his expression. He was certain that OJ didn’t kill Nicole, because, “A football player would never do that.” And of course, he thought we could get rich just by talking to Larry H. Parker. “Just call him mom, ‘he can get us 1.5 million, cause he fights for you.”

I was lusting for a brownie during one of my ongoing diets when he told me, “Just eat it and then call 1-800-JENNY.” That was when he was about three. When he was about nine or ten he had an epiphany after viewing yet another diet pill commercial promising quick weight loss. “Mom, if losing weight were as easy as taking a pill, the world would be full of skinny people.”

My son, witty with words, is a child of the media. He learned to use a mouse before he could hold a pencil. He grew up with Maria and Luis and all of the Sesame Street friends, had lunch every day with Mr. Rodgers and cut his teeth on Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael. Not the Renaissance artists; those slimy green reptiles, aka Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While I’d like to think I formed in him a love for literature when I read aloud all of the Little House on the Prairie books, the Chronicles of Narnia, and Madeline L’Engle's Wrinkle in Time series, he still buries himself in computer games. He became a Rollercoaster Tychoon, lived wild Sims lives, raised NeoPets, conquered known and mythical worlds in Age of Empires, and is now a RuneScape warrior. But he still loves words.

Last week on the way home from our Las Vegas adventure, he began writing a movie treatment. At first I thought he just wanted to mess around on my laptop to wile away the hours, while lamenting his forgetting to bring the DVDs to watch. He fiddled around for more than an hour, when he began asking me questions. Intelligent questions about characterization and backstory, and plot and structure. By the time we got home he had sketched the characters and created a scenario to save the world.

Ovations to my son for his youthful way with words. I hope he stores up enough knowledge and wittiness to carry him past the half-way mark in life.

What witty remarks have you caught the wonderful children in your life saying? Click the COMMENT button below and let us laugh with you.

13 comments:

Andy said...

Oh my gosh, your son sounds like quite a character! Sounds like he could be a writer some day, too.

I was playing "Go Fish" with my 4-year old neice and her mother, my sister-in-law. The characters on the cards were sea creatures and one of the creatures was a lobster. My neice called the lobster a "crab." When it was her turn, she turned to me, cards in her hand, and asked, "Uncle Andy, do you have any crabs?"

Ovation Leader said...

LOL! Andy, that sound like a Reader's Digest story. Children are a hoot when we take time to play and listen to them on their level. Thanks for the laugh.

Suzi said...

One of my favorite parts of being the mama (or the aunt) is getting to observe the way little kids think and express themselves. Sometimes (usually when you're at Target, for some reason), something shocking and embarrassing escapes their lips. When my daughter Rose was 4, we used to frequent a particular beach, and we got to be friends with some of the lifeguards, who were college-aged girls with college-aged lives and vocabularies. They were great. Rose would go off with them and I'd read a book in the sun. Rose's grandma came to town for a nice long visit, and as we sat at the kitchen table, catching up over lots of coffee, Grandma Betty asked Rose to tell her about her lifeguard friends. Rose could have told her about the snacks in the guard shack. She could have mentioned how well she was learning to swim. She could have talked about helping her lifeguard friends rake the weeds from the sand every morning. Instead, she said, "Well, Grandma. Heidi got into a car accident, and Jeri broke up with her boyfriend because he's a DICK." Mercy. Poor Grandma still hasn't recovered, and Rose is a college kid herself now.

You asked me to post about my nephew and the giant gumball, but I'm not sure how to do that here. Check out my web site for that, I guess! I'll be back as I think of more kid-talk stories, and to see what everyone else comes up with.

Ovation Leader said...

Thanks Suzi. Your story reminds me about the time my niece (age 5) and daughter (age 4) were playing Barbies. My niece's favorite TV show at the time was the precursor to American Idol: Star Search. Remember the acting competition where the producers gave particpants an impromptu scene? Darah's set up of the scenario for their Barbies went like this: "Let's pretend that you and I are best friends and I just came home to find you french kissing my boyfriend."

landismom said...

Yesterday, I took my kids to a local Cinco de Mayo festival. One of the food items being sold was a whole mango, on a stick, carved to look like a flower. My kids LOVE mango, so I bought them each one, and as I was giving it to my five-year-old daughter, I said, "it's almost too beautiful to eat!"

She looked at me and said, "but Mom, it's too good to waste." All afternoon, she kept repeating, "too beautiful to eat, but too good to waste!" And as soon as her dad got home, she had to tell him all about it, including her new favorite phrase. That kid cracks me up.

Ovation Leader said...

"Too beautiful to eat, too good to waste." Your daughter sounds like a pragmatist with artistic sensabilities. Witty comments from the wee ones are priceless. Keep 'em coming!

Ryan M Scott said...

You have quite the son. My father in law is a published author too. He has a few books out there, but due to poor marketing (his last book was the last of the series of guides) none of them have done terrifically.

Thank you for your kind comments on my wine blog el Catavinos, I would say that I am a commoner where wine is concerned. I have learned a lot about wine in the past year, but there is so much more to learn.

I also have a politics blog called A Bellandean!. My wife has a book review site (mostly for children's books) called Kat's Korner.

Someday if I ever can practice my writing to get to a publishable level I hope to get published.

scribble said...

your son sounds like my middle child Katherine.
outspoken quick witted and wonderful...
enjoy !

RocknRobin said...

We have been so blessed with witty and wonderful children. My oldest daughter, now 19 and completing her first year of college, has always had a interesting way of looking at life, I believe partially do to her having been raised in Las Vegas, Nevada as an only child by her single mother for 13 years. When she was 4 years old, her "sperm donor" (that's what she calls him) and I seperated. He was a cab driver and upon occasion, we would see him driving around in his cab and he would sometimes drive the cab home during his lunch period. Well, she and I were driving down The Stip (Las Vegas Blvd.) one day after dropping him off at work. We looked over and there he was in the cab with a fare. Boy that was quick! At a red light I rolled down the window to let her say hi to her dad. What she said was, "Daddy! What are those people doing in your cabby?" We were takenaback. His riders of course got a big kick out of that. Another time, all three of us were going out Tropicana Avenue by the airport near our house and he & I were drinking diet colas. My daughter realized that her dad was "driking and driving" and of course she said, "Daddy, its against the law to drink and drive!" She didn't want him to go to jail. Okay, one last story about the dad and I let you all go. He was a character to say the least. Her dad used to tell my dauthter that pretty women were baby sitters. He would say to her "look at the baby sitters". It was kinda funny until one day we were in El Pollo Loco on Flamingo and Jones Roads in Las Vegas and, As she and I walked to the restroom to wash our hands after eating, she stopped at a table where two pretty women were setting and said, "Mommy, Look at the baby sitters!." Of couse, I didn't hear her the first time she said it. Well, after I muttled through explaining to them that that was ment as a compliment, we left and I was not able to go out in public with her ever again...
not really! She has become a delightful young comedy/drama- queen-lady-type-person and brings me much joy.

Ovation Leader said...

Great memories, aren't they? Thanks for taking a moment to record them here. Do keep the wonderful, witty, and wise stories coming. :-)

K in Michigan said...

Just tonight was a funny one. My husband gave my 2-year-old the last of the applesauce and said, "That's all the rest of the applesauce. I'll put it on the list." (Meaning the shopping list.) My son grabbed his bowl possessively and cried, "No! I want it in the bowl!"

Then after dinner my son came out with, "Call me Ishmael." My husband and I exchanged shocked looks and said, "Did he really say that?" And my son repeated it, clear as day. After another stunned second I remembered Grover on Sesame Street making that particular Melville reference.

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